Athleta will open its first factory outlets this year – Footwear News

Gap Inc. is forging ahead with its aggressive plan to open stores for its Athleta brand.

The San Francisco-based company said Thursday it will introduce its first outlet stores for the sports brand this year as part of its aggressive strategy to open 30 to 40 new Athleta stores this year.

According to the company, Athleta will launch its first 3,100 square foot outlet store at Chicago Premium Outlets in Illinois this summer, followed by a 3,300 square foot location at Leesburg Premium Outlets in Virginia this fall.

Each outlet will carry a select assortment of the brand’s performance and lifestyle products, including top-selling styles like the Salutation Stash Tight, Momentum Seamless Tank and Conscious Crop. The remaining outlet assortment will provide customers with “unique value” on existing styles, the company said.

A rendering of the interior of the new Athleta Factory Store in Chicago.

CREDIT: Gap Inc.

“As part of our long-term strategic growth plan, Athleta is investing in new access points to reach new customers, deliver new value to customers who already know and love our brand, and expand our community of women and empowered girls,” Mary Beth Laughton, president and CEO of Athleta, said in a statement. “Our new outlet stores are intentionally designed to differentiate themselves from traditional outlet and clearance store models, helping to attract new customers and increase awareness of the Athleta brand.”

To date, Athleta has added 12 new stores in North America in 2022, with new locations in San Francisco, CA; Southbury, Connecticut; Park Ridge, Ill.; Lafayette, Louisiana; Cary, North Carolina; Chester, New Jersey; Reno, Nevada; Exton, Pennsylvania; Franklin, TN; Riverton and Salt Lake City, Utah; and Burlington, Ontario in Canada.

These openings follow last month’s announcement that the brand will expand its presence in Canada. According to the company, the Canadian market remains a strategic growth priority for Athleta and the Gap Inc. portfolio of brands, which operates more than 250 stores in Canada.

“Since our launch last year, Canadian customers have quickly turned to our offerings,” said Jenelle Sheridan, Vice President/General Manager of Athletica Canada, in a statement last month. “Athleta’s Canadian operations are a key driver of long-term growth, and we believe our store base growth strategy will get us there as we see Canadians return to in-store shopping.

With the announcement, the company said it would be opening 5 stores nationwide this year – the first of which was a 4,260 square foot location at the Mapleview Center in the aforementioned Burlington, Ontario. Four other Canadian stores will open this fall at Chinook Center in Calgary, Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton and 1035 Robson Street in Vancouver.